FATHER'S Day has never enjoyed the popularity of Mother's Day, due in part to a largely matriarchal society and the many absentee fathers in Jamaica.
For many of us the day brings feelings of sadness or even resentment; for others, it's a celebration of the wonderful men who stood up to their responsibilities.
It is said that healing comes through expression, and the people below share their thoughts on their dads — those present and those absent, in these series of letters.
Look out for more Father's Day stuff next week.
Dear Mr Bennett,
I would like to know why you decided not to play a role in my life when you knew from the beginning that my mother was pregnant with me. You were the one who informed her that there was a strong possibility that she was pregnant, yet you walked away from her two months later and never looked back.
Now that I'm grown and am a working professional, you want to brag to your friends that I'm your successful daughter. I wonder if not being there for me affects you as much as it does me.
Your neglected daughter,
I think one of the greatest gifts you could have given me is believing in me. I am blessed with a father who has always encouraged me and you had enough faith in my dreams, even if they seemed too big or too outlandish. I credit my successes and achievements to having you in my life; always pushing me and then being one of my biggest cheerleaders whenever l meet the mark or experience success. No matter how old l get, or how embarrassing it may be, you always would pick me up (even now in my 20s) and plant a big fat kiss on my cheek and tell me how proud you are of my latest achievement or accolade. That has always meant the world to me. I love you for who you are and for being a great dad.
From a grateful daughter,
Why did you leave my mother and me for another woman and saw it fit to neglect us as you did? You left, and now that you have fallen ill, you are back with my mother. You spent your better years away and now you are back in my life with nothing to offer.
— Greta Brown
You have been a real inspiration in my life. You were not rich — in fact, you could have been considered very poor — walking up and down the streets selling peanuts to support not only yourself but also your wife and six children. Other times you toiled in the field night and day. Despite that, we never went to bed hungry or walked naked.
In fact, you were the one who went to bed hungry and I never saw you purchase a suit for yourself.
You are an exemplary dad. And though I don't usually say it, I want you to know that I love you very much and thank you for being there for not just me but my brothers and sister.
I don't think I have thanked you enough for all that you have done for me, but probably I don't because I don't think it would be enough. The more I hear my friends speak about their absentee fathers, the more I appreciate you. You have been an inspiration to me because of your character. You have taught me the value of working hard, respecting myself and having faith in God. I don't take for granted the sacrifices you have made for us, working late at night, while we are comfortable in bed, car-pooling us to our various events even when you are tired, and doing all you can to ensure that our needs are met. I know it's a hard request, but it has always been my prayer to one day find a husband who will treat me the way you do.
Thank you for standing up when mom left. You could have sent me to live with relatives but instead you remained steadfast.
You combed hair, changed diapers, bandaged cuts, fed, clothed and bathed without complaint. You raised me to be God-fearing and happy and I credit my every success to you.